Christian Leaders Split from Pro-War Political Leaders over Syria


As the Obama administration lobbies Congress to support war against Syria, Christian leaders – for the most part – are expressing caution to outright opposition to military intervention there.
A growing number of Christian leaders are speaking out against military intervention in Syria while an increasing number of U.S. politicians are lining up in support of bombing the country.

According to The Hill, 15 out of 100 U.S. senators currently favor striking Syria or are leaning in that direction.

The Hill offered a list of senators by three categories: "yes/leaning yes," "no/leaning no" and "undecided/not clear."

Senators favoring war are: Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Senators opposing war are: John Boozman (R-Ark.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho).

Undecided senators or those with unclear positions are: Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Angus King (I-Maine), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

At press time, a number of senators had not yet stated a position.

The Hill offered a similar breakdown of members of the House of Representatives.

As the Obama administration lobbies Congress to support war against Syria, Christian leaders – for the most part – are expressing caution to outright opposition to military intervention there.

Catholic News Service reported that Western church leaders are opposed to military action in Syria.

Richard Pates, bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines and chair of the U.S. bishop's Committee on International Justice and Peace, said in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that the only option to ending the Syrian conflict was "the path of dialogue and negotiation between all components of Syrian society, with the support of the international community."

German Catholic bishops added their voice of opposition to military strikes, as did church leaders in the Middle East.

Citing the moral tradition of "Just War," Jesuit priest Thomas Reese surveyed a range of opinion, finding that most faith leaders oppose intervention.

Also applying "Just War" was Robert Parham, executive editor of EthicsDaily.com, who urged church leaders to use the "time-honored, moral tool" to critique arguments for war. He questioned whether Obama's case for war passed the rules of "Just War."

In his speech in the House of Lords, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby cited "the Christian theory of Just War."

"Just War theory says that the step of opening fire is one that must only be taken when there is no possible alternative whatsoever, under any circumstances," he said, offering a word of reservation about military action.

The Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Gradye Parsons, issued a statement urging the U.S. government "to refrain from military action that is likely to escalate the conflict further, and to bring our country directly into another war in the Middle East."

The National Council of Churches expressed deep skepticism about U.S. military engagement in Syria, urging restraint.

The National Catholic Reporter editorialized that military intervention on Syria "won't solve anything."

Parham tweeted a link to The Hill article, adding, "contact your officials, using "Just War."

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Tags: EthicsDaily Staff, Just War, Syria


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